Alzheimer’s affects not only the old. Many people begin to suffer from younger-onset Alzheimer’s in their forties and fifties. This can be tragic for those in the middle of raising families, pursuing careers, or even caring for their own elderly parents.
As many as 5 percent of those with Alzheimer’s are dealing with younger-onset Alzheimer’s; that’s about 200,000 people in the United States. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis of younger-onset Alzheimer’s can be difficult, as doctors rarely look for the disease in anyone under age 60. Also, Alzheimer’s impacts every sufferer differently, so symptoms can vary. Alzheimer’s causes a slow decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. When memory loss becomes chronic and begins to disrupt a person’s daily life, that person should suspect Alzheimer’s and get a diagnosis immediately.
If you are your family’s chief breadwinner and primary source of support, a diagnosis of younger-onset Alzheimer’s is a real cause for concern. It may become more difficult to find insurance, and you’ll need to consider rising healthcare costs. As the disease advances, job-related tasks will be tougher to perform. Talk with your doctor and determine when you’ll tell your employer and at what point you’ll have to stop working.
At the point where you become unable to work, you’ll need to file for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) to establish your right to monthly SSDI benefits and Medicare coverage. Most initial claims are denied; you’ll probably need to appeal. Seek out the services of an experienced Social Security benefits attorney to represent you and to establish the earliest possible entitlement.
Obtaining SSDI benefits can be a long and drawn-out process, often confusing, so don’t hesitate to contact a good disability lawyer at the earliest part of the process. An experienced Social Security benefits attorney can help you with claims, paperwork, hearings, and appeals, so that you can begin receiving your rightful benefits as quickly as possible.